Antar Newsletter April 2018



April eNews Bulletin
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“My ancestors walked this country when there was a land bridge between Victoria and Tasmania. A treaty will acknowledge we were the first people of this country, and we never ceded sovereignty. That’s fundamental. And there needs to be both symbolic and substantive outcomes.”

– Jill Gallagher AO,
Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner

Victoria One Step Closer to Treaty

A bill has been introduced in the Victorian Parliament to bring the state another step closer to having an official treaty with its Aboriginal people. 

The Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Bill recognises the Aboriginal Representative Body and enables it to negotiate with the State Government over the framework for a treaty. It also commits funding, establishes negotiating principles, and requires the State Government and the Aboriginal Representative Body to provide annual reports on the progress of a treaty.

Victorian Treaty Advancement commissioner Jill Gallagher said it had taken years to get the bill to this point, but official treaty negotiations are still years away.

Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner Jill Gallagher said of the process “It’s taken two years of hard work, blood sweat and tears, and we still got a lot of hard work ahead of us”

Meanwhile, the Greens expressed dissatisfaction of the treaty process so far and have called for a clans-based treaty which would involve community Elders more heavily. Gunai Gunditjmara woman and member of the Northcote Greense, Lidia Thorpe, explained “The Victorian government must consult with and negotiate with the elders, who are the law in our culture.” Media release here.

With FNP pushing for a national treaty commission, attention has been drawn to Victoria as an example of creating a treaty which is widely applicable and empowering. Australia remains the only Commonwealth country without a treaty with FNP.

On 7th March the Aboriginal Treaty Working Group officially handed over its final report to the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission, delivering key recommendations on the design of the Aboriginal Representative Body.

To read the full article on the bill, click here.
To read the final report of the Aboriginal Treaty Working Group, click here.

Assessment of Budj Bim for UNESCO World Heritage List Underway

Budj Bim Cultural Landscape site is one step closer to inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. This past month in Paris, UNESCO began to assess Australia’s bid to have Budj Bim added, following a campaign led by the traditional custodians of the land, the Gunditjmara people. If nominated to appear on the list, Budj Bim will be the first Australian World Heritage site to be nominated exclusively for Aboriginal cultural values. Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said that “a world heritage listing would be recognition of the important role the landscape plays in the lives of the Gunditjmara People” and would be the result of hard work from Gunditjmara leaders to have their sacred country and history recognised.

The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape provides an outstanding example on a world stage of the scale, complexity and antiquity of a well-preserved Aboriginal fishery that continues into the present. It is an exceptional example of Aboriginal environmental manipulation.

To read about Budj Bim, click here, and here.
To read the UNESCO submission, click here.

Stolenwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games have kicked off this week and, while the opening ceremony included FNP themes and performers, many were protesting for the “Stolenwealth Games” mirroring the campaign of the same name which took place in Melbourne in 2006.

In both cases the campaign, with its thought evoking title, has been used to draw the world’s attention to lack of a substantial Aboriginal and Torres Srait Islander voice in the National discourse. While many gains have been made across the country since 2006, FNP and supporters feel the slow rate of action and high rates of inconsquential policies or recognition call for more focus on justice. It is particularly fitting when Australia is on the world stage.Around one hundred protesters blocked the route of the Queen’s Baton Relay as it made its way through the suburb of Southport. The protesters waved Aboriginal flags and chanted “No Justice, No Games.”

To read full article, click here.

New Recognition Committee in Federal Parliament

A joint parliamentary committee which will be looking at reconciliation and the constitution held its first meeting today. The committee’s co-chairs, Labor Senator Pat Dodson and Liberal MP Julian Leeser, released a joint statement.

“As a committee, we are looking for common ground and ways forward on these critical matters for Australia’s future. We hope to hear from Australians about the next steps for recognition of First Nations peoples,” the statement stated.

It is what Dodson and Leeser have called the first of many meetings for the committee.

Despite the positive note of the statement, it is unclear whether the formation of this committee will lead to the implementation of either of the two major recommendations made by the Referendum Council in June of last year. These are the establishment of a Makarrata (Treaty) Commission and an enshrined FNP voice in Australia’s constitution. The recommendations are based on discussions at the Uluru convention which resulted in the Statement of the Heart. Support the Statement of the Heart here.

To read more about the new recognition committee, click here.

Reconciliation Writing Competition
Don’t Keep History A Mystery

The Reconciliation Writing Competition 2018, organised by Port Phillip Citizens for Reconciliation, is  now open to all Victorians. This is a chance to explore ideas about our past and our connection with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture, and to develop a deeper understanding of our national story.

All styles of writing are encouraged including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Work must be original.

Read the flyer here.

Image result for william cooper statue

William Cooper statue unveiled

Hundreds gathered at Shepparton’s Queens Gardens for the unveiling of the William Cooper memorial statue on 27th March, including descendants of William Cooper, school students and community organisations.Kaiela Institute executive chair Paul Briggs spoke of the importance of the day in Aboriginal history. ‘‘It’s a day of mixed emotions as we’re not only celebrating a great event and a great man, but we’re also remembering the past and our journey,’’ Mr Briggs said.

To read more, click here.

                                                     UPCOMING EVENTS

Reconciliation Roundtable
April 11th, 10am – 4:30pm, King & Wood Mallesons, Bourke Street, Melbourne

Be part of a diverse group of leaders from across the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors, exploring ways to increase development, employment and other opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The aim is to look at how to make a deeper, collective impact on the progress of reconciliation in Australia.

This event is free. To register, click here.


The Hassall Collection : A Selection of Contemporary Indigenous Art
April 14th – 27th May, Wangaratta Art Gallery

Come along to an exhibition of Contemporary Indigenous works exhibited from the private collection of Geoffrey Hassall. Geoffrey has been collecting art for 42 years and Indigenous art since 1996. In 2014 Geoffrey received an OAM acknowledged for his service to the visual arts, particularly to museums and regional galleries.

This unique selection of works features key contemporary Indigenous Australian Artists such Sally Gabori, Doris Bush and Timothy Cook.

This exhibition is free entry. For more information, click here.

April 21st, Opening and Floortalk

Do not miss the official opening of The Hassall Collection: A Selection of Contemporary Indigenous Art in Gallery 1.

The exhibition will be officially opened by Judith Ryan AM, Senior Curator, Indigenous Art at National Gallery of Victoria. Judith will also present a Floortalk at 3.30pm.

Booking is essential. Please call the gallery on 03 5722 0865 or click here.

Cultural Tour of Boort with Jida Gulpilil
April 14th, 8am-5.30pm, Nolan Park, Boort

Come and enjoy a great day in Boort with Jida Gulpilil and discover the richest cultural landscape on Dja Dja Warrung. The tour will include cross-cultural interpretation, canoeing and kayaking, Aboriginal culture, art and craft demonstrations, Aboriginal music, song and dance and much more.

Transport is provided, meeting in front of Castlemaine Visitor Information Centre at 8.00am, returning at 5.30pm

To read more and to buy tickets, click here.

Land, Water, Sky
April 19th (Opening Event),  5.30 pm, East Gippsland Art Gallery, Bairnsdale

Land Water Sky sees a stellar line up of works by Koorie artists connected to the Gunaikurnai country around Gippsland.

Artists include Ray Thomas, Charlotte (Penny) Hood, Ronald Edwards Pepper and Steaphan Paton.

For more information, click here.

Australian Indigenous Astronomy: 65,000 Years of Science
April 20th, 7pm-8pm, Theatre of All Nations, Epping

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people developed a number of practical ways to observe the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets to inform navigation, calendars, predict weather, and inform law and social structure. This knowledge contains a significant scientific component, which is encoded in oral traditions and material culture.

This talk will explore the many ways in which Indigenous Australians encode scientific information in their traditions and some of the ways in which they pass this knowledge from generations  to generation.

The speaker is Dr Duane Hamacher, an astronomer and Senior Research Fellow at the Monash University Indigenous Studies Centre. He specialises in Indigenous astronomical and geological knowledge in Australia and the Pacific.

To read more about the event and to register your interest, click here.

Yanha Kaiela Arts presents ‘The Passionate Collector’ with Susan McCulloch
April 24th, 6pm-9pm, The Connection, Shepparton

Yanha Kaiela Arts Fundraising Soiree
Yurri Catering will serve delicious, Indigenous-inspired food platters and a variety of light and alcoholic refreshments to accompany an illustrated presentation by Susan McCulloch OAM and a silent art auction featuring ten, Kaiela Arts, artists.In this illustrated talk, art writer, adjunct professor and consultant Susan McCulloch OAM will explore the pivotal role private collectors and public collections have played in the development Australian Aboriginal art over more than 70 years- from Arnhem Land’s bark art of the 1940s, the desert art of 70’s and 80’s to today’s initiatives that include emergent themes for collectors, in south east, northern Victoria and beyond.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

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News You Might Have Missed

Nov 06, 2017 02:47 pm | Antar Victoria

In their recently revealed 10 year drafted plan, the City of Boroondara has failed to mention the traditional owners of the land, the Wurundjeri people, in any aspect of the Council’s future. They have since said that the reason being is that Acknowledgement of Country and Cultural support for the Wurundjeri people was not brought to the attention of Council. The Wurundjeri Council have not been consulted.

Oct 02, 2017 12:38 pm | Antar Victoria

A new Victorian council has been created to give Aboriginal people influence over decisions relating to issues such as health care, housing, education, and steps towards Aboriginal self-determination.

Esme Bamblett, who is the chief executive of the Aborigines Advancement League, hopes the council will ensure money spent on Aboriginal programs is more effective. Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins said that this step will give Victorian Aboriginal people more decision-making power, going on to say that the government is also committed to a treaty with Victorian Aboriginals.

Oct 02, 2017 12:25 pm | Antar Victoria

A team of archaeologists and forensic scientists from Flinders University have traveled to north WA in order to prove the 1922 Sturt Massacre. The scientists examine bone fragments in order to corroborate stories told by local Aboriginal elders, which have been the subject of political debate for decades.

Sep 14, 2017 01:43 pm | Antar Victoria

Gunnai Gunditjimara woman Lidia Thorpe has been preselected as the Greens candidate for the Victorian seat of Northcote and stands a good chance of taking the seat from Labor if past voting trends repeat themselves. If elected Ms Thorpe, who is the chair of the Victorian NAIDOC Committee, could be the first Aboriginal woman elected to parliament in Victoria.

Sep 14, 2017 10:34 am | Antar Victoria

On Wednesday 13th September, Moreland City Council became the third Melbourne local council to drop all references to Australia Day on January 26th and committed to joining the drive to change the date of national celebration.

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